Marine Sues Murtha

Discussion in 'Politics' started by carpro, Aug 2, 2006.

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  1. carpro

    carpro
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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/01/AR2006080101345.html

    Marine Names Murtha in Defamation Suit
    Congressman Discussed Killings Involving Serviceman's Squad in Haditha, Iraq

    By Josh White
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Page A05

    A Marine Corps staff sergeant who led the squad accused of killing two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq, will file a lawsuit today in federal court in Washington claiming that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) defamed him when the congressman made public comments about the incident earlier this year.

    Attorneys for Frank D. Wuterich, 26, argue in court papers that Murtha tarnished the Marine's reputation by telling news organizations in May that the Marine unit cracked after a roadside bomb killed one of its members and that the troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood." Murtha also said repeatedly that the incident was covered up.
     
  2. Magnetic Poles

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    Another frivolous lawsuit waiting to be thrown out, especially given this morning's news from the Associated Press:

    WASHINGTON - Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.

    Full story at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14150687/
     
  3. Daisy

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    I suppose Murtha could've been more weaselly and said something like, "Evidence supports ....." as it did and, apparrently, still does.
     
  4. The Galatian

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    Truth is an absolute defense against slander. When the facts come out, I doubt if any jury would give this guy a nickel. But that's not what the lawsuit is for.

    Even so, it's likely to backfire.
     
  5. El_Guero

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    Really?

    A marine NCO can sue an elected official? A marine NCO has to sue an elected official? A marine NCO is allowed to sue an elected official?

    Something is definitely not being mentioned in the press for an NCO to be able to sue an elected official. Cover up? Maybe not, but as a former NCO, you just don't go around starting lawsuits. You do not have time. And if you are frivolous, as someone said, your chain of command will have your bacon fried and served up cold in Leavenworth.
     
    #5 El_Guero, Aug 2, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2006
  6. El_Guero

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    Wow!

    The press did a pretty good job on this. Seems there may be some truth being hidden by politicians about this case.

    Scary that an NCO has to sue a politician in order to continue to serve his country.

    But, if he fails - he is ruined.
     
  7. The Galatian

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    UCMJ does not in any way prevent a member of the armed forces from suing anyone.

    Nor wouild it end his career. As a former NCO, I know of NCOs who initiated lawsuits. No one cared. It would not be any of his commander's business, unless it involved duty.
     
  8. El_Guero

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    Never said UCMJ. Elected officials are given limited protection from lawsuits to prevent frivolous lawsuits.

    I was never in a unit where the whereabouts of each and every soldier (especially NCO) was not important. When a soldier sues an elected official, the entire unit comes underneath scrutiny - just the nature of the beast.

    What I was talking about is the reality - 10k plus minimum to retain a lawyer is real money. And the NCO has been granted time away from duty. Leave or passes will cover this, but in order for him to justify this - it will go across some commander's desk. He cannot request leaves without a solid enough case that the command does not consider it frivolous.

    Maybe your units were laissez faire.
     
  9. Daisy

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    I would be surprised if he were paying for this himself. I would look first at the Republican party, then at conservative funders. Is Murtha up for election this year?
     
  10. carpro

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    Actually he could have and should have just kept his mouth shut until the investigation was complete and charges were filed.

    Instead he decided to grandstand and perhaps ruin the lives and reputations of what could turn out to be innocent men before they were even charged. They haven't even been notified that they might be charged.

    But in the eyes of a certain portion of the public, they have already been deemed guilty.

    Why?

    Murtha.
     
  11. The Galatian

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    That's not in the UCMJ either. And it doesn't matter a bit whether a public official is sued by a member of the armed forces or a civilian.

    Soldiers are required by law to be in court when necessary. Commander has no say in that.

    Don't see how. It might shake his commander. But there aren't that many candies in the army.

    On contingency. And given Murtha's position, I'd bet there are a lot of GOP donors who would pay to try to embarass him.

    Commander has no say. If he denied him leave to do it, the court would issue a warrent for the commander for contempt. It happened once, during the Vietnam war.

    They have no choice. If the court wants him there, he better be there, or the commander had better convince the judge that he couildn't be there.

    American. Rule of law, due process, that sort of thing.
     
  12. carpro

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    Hardly frivolous.

    The Marines have never denied that they killed these people. They have always asserted that they followed established house clearing procedures.

    Murtha stated clearly that the killings were "in cold blood".

    There is a huge difference.

    Murtha should have kept his big mouth shut and deserves to be sued.

    If the Marine Corp decides that they agree with the accused Marines that they followed correct procedures, no murder charges will be filed.
     
  13. El_Guero

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    What you are saying is 'true'. But, I would not say it is pratical.

    I do not know of any lawyer that will take a case like that on contingency. But since you do, I would like their name - I would like to sue the government.

    But, only if they are good - I want to win.
     
  14. Daisy

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    I believe the concern was that there wouldn't be much of an investigation.

    How many people even knew their names? Murtha didn't mention any.

    What were Murtha's exact words and what was the point he was making? Apparently, a certain portion of the public is willing to convict Murtha on hearsay evidence. You have to watch out for paraphrases as they are all too often misquotes.

    From May 17, 2006:
    Did Murtha ever name Wuterich or say that Wuterich was guilty? No. Wuterich fingered Wuterich publicly.
     
  15. carpro

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    Murtha did not say that.

    That appears to be your own rationalization for Murtha's inexcusable public accusation.
     
  16. El_Guero

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    Daisy

    I do realize that the glass house that soldiers live under is difficult for a civilian to understand, but I was threatened with punishment for a look. That was just after another soldier was punished for walking away (even though he stopped).

    There were a very limited number of incidents that the congressman could refer to - period. And as soon as he did refer to an incident, his concern became an investigation (he should have officially started a 'congressional' - he called for one through the press). As soon as he did that, the NCO, his unit, and their actions were 'investigated'. 'Congressional investigation' is a serious term.

    The reason that he can be sued is that he did not start an official congressional investigation.

    The NCO and his troops may be guilty as something, but there are official channels for a cnogressman to use. When a congressman uses the wrong channels, that is often considered an abuse of power.
     
  17. El_Guero

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    Daisy

    Contrary to the indications of some of the posts in this thread, an allegation against a soldier often ruins his or her career.

    If you were to make a false allegation against a soldier on this thread and his unit read that allegation, the unit could punish the soldier through article 15 of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). Even something as mundane as 'conduct unbecoming'* can ruin a soldier's career and most certainly his day.

    It is some of the best days of your life and it is some of the worst days of your life. But there is no reason for a soldier to have to fear a congressman's statement. All the congressman had to do was do his job. Start a congressional investigation. That is his job. The soldier could not sue him for that.

    Yet, we want the NCO and his troops to be punished for a failure of duty, but we expect the congressman that failed to perform his duty to get off scott free.

    * 'conduct unbecoming' - is the terminology for officers. Article 121 is used when punishing enlisted soldiers for 'conduct unbecoming' even though the terminology is different.
     
  18. Daisy

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    If a false allegation can ruin a soldier's career then something is seriously wrong with the system.

    Thus the prefixed "I believe", duh. His "inexcusable public accusation" were confirmed and echoed by military sources.

    What was Murtha's point? Did you catch that, carpro? Did you notice he wasn't condemning the soldiers, but saying this is what happens under too much stress?
     
  19. El_Guero

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    Daisy

    Timeline:

    From: http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=4159
     
  20. El_Guero

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    Why should a soldier fix the system? When the system is the way it is so that soldiers will not abuse the system?
     
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